originally posted on Scripps Howard News Service, GateHouse Media, Inc
Looking to improve your guest bedroom?
For most of the year, they function as flex spaces for offices, playrooms, dens or craft rooms. But when overnight guests descend for the holidays, it's time to transform those spaces into quiet sleeping quarters as warm and cozy as a fleece robe.
A prominent interior designer says clients have been calling about their kids and family coming home and want to make it really comfortable for them, I'm turning studies and hobby rooms into guest bedrooms.
Renters can always enjoy luxury Philadelphia apartments located in the heart of the city's most popular neighborhoods.
The always-popular daybed does double duty as a sofa by day and a bed by night. interior designers often choose models with trundles, which can be pulled out into a double bed.
One interior designer recently outfitted a client's den with an antique daybed covered in velvet bedding -- with a large round bolster pillow that turns it into a comfortable sofa. New French doors can close off the den for sleepovers.
Sleeper sofas in family rooms and multi-use spaces also are making a comeback. That's because today's models are more like slumbering on a cloud than across a metal pole, according to designers and salespeople.
According to a sales associate at Baker Napp & Tubbs showroom in Minneapolis, technology has really improved the comfort of sleeper sofas, manufacturers have redesigned how the bar supports the bed, and mattresses have gotten thicker and firmer.
Today's sleeper sofas are also a lot more stylish. Hancock & Moore manufactures a leather Chesterfield sleeper sofa and many traditional upholstery lines include sleeper sofas.
One designer created a combination office/guest bedroom by integrating a Techline Studio queen-size Murphy bed and bookshelf system. When the bed is tucked away, it functions as an office, and there's room for a printer and desk. When it's folded down, it's pretty and inviting and has a built-in reading light and nightstand.
Guest accommodations don't have to be fancy -- a quiet, restful place to get a good's night's sleep can be enough.
And if your guests are early risers, there's one sure-fire way to make them feel at home: Show them where the coffee is stored and how to work the coffeemaker.
Want to give holiday houseguests a hotel-like experience? Here are more tips:
-- Reading lamp, reading glasses and alarm clock -- set to the correct time -- on a nightstand.
-- Basket filled with travel-size soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and Q-tips in the room or a nearby bathroom.
-- Folded fresh towels in an easy-to-find place.
-- Pen and paper in the nightstand drawer.
-- Don't use air fresheners or fragrant candles, because some people are sensitive to scents.
-- Make sure the room and bathroom the guest will be using are both squeaky clean.
-- Empty out dressers and clean out the closet. Add padded or wooden hangers.
-- Set out a luggage rack or a bench with a cushion for suitcases.
-- Inexpensive decorative screens for a family room or basement give guests privacy.
-- Tie a ribbon on pillows labeled "firm" or "soft" and "down" or "hypoallergenic."
-- A water carafe and glass on the nightstand.
-- Blow up the air bed and put on sheets ahead of time, not when guests are there.
-- Lay a nice throw at the end of the bed.
-- Hagen's parents and in-laws stay in a lower-level guest bedroom where it's easy to hear footsteps. "I give them a sound machine to block out noise."
-- Magazines next to the bed for insomniacs.
-- If you have Wi-Fi, share the code for guests' laptops and iPads.
-- Watch for a sale and pick up a robe, just like at a nice hotel.
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Welcome to the Philadelphia Pennsylvania blog. This blog contains a wealth of information about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Apartment living, and housing opportunities in our great city and other metro areas of the U.S.. Learn about efforts at restoring architectural relics of the past - former factories, warehouses, schools, hotels, hospitals, train stations - into first-class houses and apartments, and in preserving these distinguished residential communities for future generations. Please enjoy your stay on our Philadelphia apartments blog and feel free to share your stories on life in Philly and the city of brotherly love. In addition, we welcome all commentaries regarding building remodeling, home remodeling, kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, and house hunting. Thank You!
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Story first reported from USA Today
The average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages fell again, dropping below 3.5% for the first time on records that date back 60 years.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.49% from 3.53% last week. The loans are the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, dipped to 2.80%. That's below last week's previous record of 2.83%.
The rate on the 30-year loan has fallen to or matched record lows 13 of the past 14 weeks.
Cheaper mortgages have helped drive a modest but uneven housing recovery.
For example, another report Thursday said buyers signed fewer contracts to purchase previously occupied homes last month.
The National Association of Realtors says its index of pending sales agreements fell 1.4% in June to 99.3. May's reading was revised down to 100.7.
A reading of 100 is considered healthy. The index is 9.5% higher than it was a year ago. The index bottomed at 75.88 in June 2010 after a homebuyers' tax credit expired.
Contract signings typically indicate where the housing market is headed. There's generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed deal.
Sales of new and previously occupied homes fell in June but were higher than the same month last year. Home prices have started to stabilize in many large markets. And builders are more confident and are putting
up more houses than they have in nearly four years.
Low mortgage rates could also provide some help to the economy if more people refinance. When people refinance at lower rates, they pay less interest on their loans and have more money to spend. Many homeowners use the savings on renovations, such as bath remodels and bathroom remodels, furniture, appliances and other improvements, which help drive growth.
Still, the pace of home sales remains well below healthy levels. Many people are still having difficulty qualifying for home loans or can't afford larger down payments required by banks.
The sluggish job market could deter some from making a purchase this year.
Mortgage rates have been dropping because they tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. A weaker U.S. economy and uncertainty about how Europe will resolve its debt crisis have led investors to buy more Treasury securities, which are considered safe investments. As demand for Treasurys increase, the yield falls.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday each week.
The average does not include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1% of the loan amount.
The average fee for 30-year loans was 0.7 point, unchanged from last week. The fee for 15-year loans rose to 0.7 point from 0.6 the previous week.
The average rate on one-year adjustable rate mortgages rose to 2.71% from 2.69%. The fee for one-year adjustable rate loans edged up to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.
The average rate on five-year adjustable rate mortgages jumped to 2.74% from 2.69% last week. The fee was unchanged at 0.6 point.
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